Thursday, 2 October 2008


Thank you for tagging me Rosalie. So now I tag you back and tag 6 others :)

A #1. Rockfest the Band

the hottest rock band in Australia.

And six talented writers who are all dear friends of mine. Meet them and their work and they could become your friends too at:

2. Rosalie Skinner

3. Laurel Lampherd

4. Carole Sutton

5. Esmaa Self

6. Edith Parzefall

7. Kim Smith

and now to follow the rest of the instructions. Tell 6 things about me.

1. I really admire people who put the needs of others first when they are in need of attention themsleves.

2. Self disciplined people have a head start. It must be a gift because I don't know how to get it, but my husband has it.

3. I'm too judgmental even with myself.

4. I believe in Destiny. If you really want something bad enough, you will get it -- for better or for worse.

5. Realizing that I prefer silence to music while I work proved that I'm no longer a spring chicken, but having just figured out how to add these links (the hard way - thanks Rosalie -the regular link icon proved to difficult) I'm not quite over the hill yet.

6. I'm really, really glad that my kids chose me to be their Mum.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

How to Plot a Story to Engage Your Reader


Often the beginning writers ponders too long over characterization, scenery and setting up the story/backstory and finds it difficult to accept the fundamental element of a good story.



GOAL or PROBLEM is all important.

If you are blocked you might need to re think your story.

Maybe your main character doesn't have a big enough goal to reach, or problem to overcome.
- Maybe nothing or no one is trying to stop him achieving it. (Conflict)
You need obstacles that lead your character to make decisions. (Crises) It's Furtherance and Hindrance that build suspense.
- Maybe you need to physically visit the site, or a similar site, for the setting of your story to get the atmosphere/mood right where you will find the unique details.
- Get a group of friends to fire questions at you about your story so that you have to answer them so fast you'll even make up stuff that wasn't originally part of it and be surprised how relevant the new answers are. That is a wonderful unblocking exercise.
- If all else fails, try introducing a new character to hinder your hero.
Your hero's character develops and changes through the ways he attempts to solve his problem or achieve his goal. How he reacts to his situation is determined by what motivates him.

Have you covered the who, where, when why and how?
1st chapter.
Have you introduced your main character, anchored him in the setting, given him a strong goal, (preferably one the reader thinks is impossible to reach) one which is extremely important to himself, given him a motivation for wanting to reach this goal, and have you put a stumbling
block in his way to prevent him achieving it? Now the reader will read on to find out if and how he does achieve it.
- What is this story about? Reduce it to one noun which will probably turn out to be what motivates your main character at every turn of the story.
eg. Love, pride, honour, brotherhood, survival, etc. [themes/motivations]

Ask yourself
- . What have I promised the reader? A good mystery, an adventure, a rollicking good yarn, a dark thriller, comedy. A hero's journey, a bumpy ride, etc? This should be apparent from the first page.
You must remember to deliver on the promise? [maintaining your focus]

Don't be afraid to use imagery and symbolism. It's amazing how creating a simile to replace an adverb can set you on a roll and get you writing for longer than you intended. Similes and metaphors are great unblockers. You could try getting your character to make up a quote. That will reveal a lot about him/her.
I've discovered that first chapter(s) need to be re written when the novel is completed, so keep moving forward and don't worry about editing until much later. Add to earlier chapters, of course, when you discover you need to prepare the reader for something you hadn't expected in the chapter you are writing. But get it down. You can't edit a blank page.

Keeping this in mind, all writers should do NaNo in November at least once. i.e. write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I completed 3 NaNos successfully. It's hard going but it is so satisfying and teaches you to think fast and to turn off your internal editor until your story is written. You can edit later but by Dec 1st you have a beginning, middle and end to work on and improve.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Writing the Novel

I wasn't sure if there had ever been a monastery at the site of my fictional town which is a real town in real life so I had to be cautious and when I had the chance I checked the details.

My fictional St. Gabriel's monastery was built about 1000 AD, made of wood. That way when it fell into ruin sometime after 1307 AD there would be no trace of it in the modern world as there would be from a stone one. Plus timber (a wattle and daub structure) would more easily burn if I needed it to.
I imagined in the Eastern Arcade salt and grain would be stored at the near end of the promenade.
The time in Switzerland proved to be necessary. I discovered that a monastery does dominate the town of Altdorf. It has been there since the 1580's. In the book I had Stefan wonder if there'd ever been one, so I had to make a quick adjustment during the final edit, to counteract that major error. While in Switzerland, I found it fascinating to discover here is little difference from the Uri Bull emblem seen in Altdorf today and the one common in 1315 AD.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Mastered it.

Calamity's Corner worked better this month since I converted the newsletter to PDF. Takes less space in email. I think I've mastered it, now. It's lovely to receive such interesting contributions too. I can't wait to see what pets will be forthcoming.
The next step is to figure out how to make a video - just a little one. For myspace. Not for emailing.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Newsletter Success.

Thanks to some advice from family members I was able to send out my first newsletter. I used the Bcc feature in outlook to hide the list of names. The Bcc was hard to find and I did have to add each address seperately. There has to be an easier way! Also I must get software to convert Word to PDF so that the format isn't corrupted for non Word readers. The May issue is nearly ready.
I'm happy now that it worked this time, but will be happier when I can discover how others send their newsletters in large numbers. So far the companies I've asked haven't responded.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Newsletter woes

I'm trying to create a newsletter. I did - on a small scale for starters. Created a group in hotmail and tried to send but I had too many friends. I'm allowed to send to 10 at a time. So I turned to Outlook express - created a group of special friends - entered the group name in the To box. Saved it to drafts while I checked it and to my horror everyones name came up in the To box. I can't invade people's privacy like that. Under message rules the 'show people in To box' was already unchecked.
After countless tries to copy and paste my newsletter here on my blogspot I must give up. I'm so disappointed. The format and the thumbnail pictures were lost. I worked long into the night and most of this morning but now (due to family commitments) my computer has to be shut down for 6 weeks. I can't believe I let this beat me.
If anyone has advice, especially on how to send the newsletter via email without divulging the recipients names in the 'To' box, could you please leave me a message. I would very appreciate it. Thank you.

Sunday, 16 March 2008


You've heard the adage: a great book is not written, it's re written. In the many rewritten drafts the story is moulded and polished.
Well, I've learnt another truth. To discover the real story within one must 'dewrite'. It's in the deleting and the word reduction you really come to differentiate between what you like about the story with what is truly essential to entertain the reader. I guess it's a case of putting the reader's needs before the author's.
I had no idea I was having so much fun on my own. :) But now I know, I have reduced, reduce, reduce and the story is better for it. Now the forest is gone we can all see the wood for the trees.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Talented friends

It's so lovely to have so many talented friends on my Bebo site. I think we are all enjoying the communication between our sites. I spent most of the day setting up a quiz there today Novels & Novelists instead of slashing words off my novel which is still too long to be publishable. I'll get back to the novel tonight. I hope there will be tons of people who take the quiz. I think it might be too hard but it is mutli choice and the last two questions are a bit of a cheek. If people don't know the answers to those it won't count. But if they do, I'll be their friend for life.

Thank you to Rosalie and Terry for the lovely reviews and the 5 stars which was quite a thrill on my Bebo Book site and to Anne and Anita for there special comments, today.

Goodreads is another great place for forming like-minded friends. I'm thrilled Sheryl joined. I'm waiting to see what books she chooses to add to her shelf.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

The Legend of the Unicorn



Bubbles in a babbling brook burst over pebbles of glass
White chiffon swirls `round lissom limbs on a bank of verdant grass.
Drawn by mysterious force she comes to the woods in the dewy air,
She gathers bluebells and she weaves a garland for her hair.
Approaching hooves her joy completes, the proud steed shakes his head,
The strong, white body, flushed of face, falls down before her... dead.

A hush befalls the stricken woods, its breath suspended now,
Her violent efforts can’t dislodge the arrow from his brow.
“Breathe Life! I beg all woodland nymphs, the fairies and the sprite!
Reverse the treachery of man, great Artemis of night.”
She flings her arms around the beast; her crystal tears flow free.
Apollo and his sister smile, they can’t resist her plea.

The throbbing of a loving heart and warmth from the rising sun,
Blue flowers on a bloodstained mane, the miracle has begun.
Was it but a play of light, with the breaking of the dawn?
Or did the great colt quiver? No arrow now, just glistening horn.
“Ah, sweet victory,” the maiden cries, “no man can poison thee.
Unique within the magic world forever you’ll roam free.”

Prancing, dancing, a lyre enhancing the lilting woodland song,
The gentle steed and maiden sigh, assured they both belong
Where the natural and the mystic realms merge in the dewy air,
Where bubbles burst in crystal tears and great gods answer prayer.
So, in the morn, before the dawn, when a babbling brook she hears
She’ll find herself in Bluebell Woods where the unicorn appears.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

My Review of Mirella Patzer's Bloodstone Castle

Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer

Review by Wendy Laharnar

At the moment of her birth, in Bloodstone Castle, Morena, Contessa of Portovenere, receives an ancient bloodstone pendant from her dying mother who believes the pendant will protect her from harm. No one knows the true significance of the bloodstone pendant.
Morena grows into a beautiful, strong-willed woman, fiercely loyal to her father and to her betrothed, Ernest of Savona, a man she has never met. However, unknown to her, her father plans to rescind the marriage contract in favour of Duke Amoro Dragone of Genoa, in order to heal the ancient family feud and restore peace to the region.
A reluctant suitor at first, the handsome Duke Amoro soon falls deeply in love with Morena, but she vehemently shuns his advances. Although strongly attracted to him, she flees. Her escape leads her to the unscrupulous and self-serving Ernesto who is as determined as Amoro to make her his bride and claim Bloodstone Castle and its treasure before Morena learns his dreadful secret.
When Morena is forced to face a brutal reality, she realizes her heart belongs to Amoro, but it is too late. Amoro's attempt to save her has trapped them both in the crumbling castle at Savona, and, it seems, only Morena's marriage to the repulsive Ernesto can save her true loves life.

Through Mirella Patzer's sensual language and haunting atmosphere we experience the medieval world of castles and monasteries, of hidden treasure and secret passages, of mistrust and betrayal, of passion and desire. Exciting action, at times heart-warmingly sensitive and terrifyingly brutal and the inner conflict of both Amoro and Morena, sweep us into the passion and pain of this turbulent romance. From the heart-rending opening to the breathless pursuits and the unexpected surprise in the wonderfully satisfying end, Bloodstone Castle holds the reader captive.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Favourite Writing Unblockers.

My 15 minute exercises for overcoming writers block have worked for me. If you try them, let me know if they work for you. I'll add more later.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Editing the novel

For the past few days Gabriela and I have had fun reading aloud the unedited copy of The Unhewn Stone. We discovered small errors that were easily rectified and I was pleased to hear G. chuckle and react to the characters' antics and plot incidents. It's very satisfying when your reader is drawn into the story and chooses to remain there.

Visits to local bookstores were rewarding. I found the managers are most responsive and friendly towards local authors. When I have my cover and a release date I'll be able to arrange for readings and book signing.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Wonderful News

Our Precious Princess has just been accepted into the most prestigious university in the land.
What a wonderful achievement! Grandy and Pa are sooooooooo proud of her.

Congratulations, Sara! You make good things happen. You're a winner!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Making Friends

It's fun making new writing friends and joining new sites. I've learned more about the Internet in the last few days than I would have if I'd taken a three month course.

Thanks for all the help, Mark and my fellow authors.

One thing I can't do and that's add an image. It seems to be uploading the jpg file and I have the shrink to fit box ticked, but when the green bar is full, nothing happens. Maybe there is something missing on my computer but the scanned photo came up - not shrunk though which was a disappointment.

I love adding links though. :-)

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Laurel's success

I'm thrilled that my West Australian friend, Laurel Lamperd, will have her Regency novel published in six weeks. Her beautiful cover is up on her website.

Substitute Bride - a Regency Romance
to be published in March 2008
available from Wings ePress http://www.wingsepress/

Congratulations Laurel!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Excited to post my first blog

14th January,
Today I spent ages trying to decide on a blog site. I'm glad I found this one so I can share the progress and reviews of my novel, The Unhewn Stone, recently accepted for publication by Enspiren Press. I'm fortunate to have the lovely and talented Mirella Pazter, author of Heinrich the Fowler and Bloodstone Castle, as my editor.

The Unhewn Stone is a time travel novel set in Switzerland during the Middle Ages. Our modern-day hero, Stefan Gessler, is caught up in the violent times where the Wilhelm Tell legend originated. Unable to return to the 21st century because Tell stole half of his golden orb, the key to the Wurmloch that will take him home, Stefan is thrust into one dangerous adventure after another. With his 14th century 'cousin', Rolf, (in love withTell's wild daughter, Eva) Stefan is pursued by an evil knight and a shapeshifting sibyl and forced to face his own demons and those of medieval Switzerland.

More later.